A 17th Century all wood printing press at Rembrandt’s Museum and fine musical instruments inspired my Halfwood press design. Musical artists have beautiful instruments, why not visual artists? Beautiful and functional hand printing presses are wood clad over steel with etched brass appointments added. With a USB flash memory drive secreted in the wood I give my subject matter expertise and printmaking teaching method in the press for other artists, designers, crafts people and youth worldwide.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Visually, structurally and intelligently designed, the Halfwood printing press blends wood, steel and information. Form resembles old world style and craft with hand finishes and contrasting metal details. Structurally the press works for intaglio, relief, planar, and stencil printing yields rewards to beginners and professionals alike. Bedding a USB flash memory drive in the woodwork enables the user to connect to an expert’s Web for displays and linkage to online help desk via the Internet.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
Fine art printmakers create printing plates by etching are carving by hand; then they apply stiff inks to the printing plate and wiped away excess ink. The plate is put on the press bed, covered over with damp, pliable paper. A thick fabric provides cushioning. Turning the press’ wheel moves the bed between the rollers and the pressure compresses the soft paper into the engraving and transfers ink to the paper. To learn from an expert, a USB cable connects to a computer for built in lessons.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project began in Seattle/USA in 2004 with intent to offer a beautiful and functional etching press to printmakers. Four successive models followed. Improvements developed from to user feedback, making the press easier to operate and professional instructions via online videos and Web pages followed. In 2010, the SME feature was built into the woodwork. A USB flash memory drive gives computer-equipped users ready access to the expertise a designer and practitioner in the art of printmaking.
FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
Press mechanics date back centuries; combining aesthetics and reduced size produced a beautiful, portable press, a balanced design. Cutting and welding plate steel, turning rollers, fitted bearings, gearing and chain drives clad in fine woods cut, rounded, oiled and rubbed by hand, plus brass appointments etched, shaped and inset into the wood result in a beautiful, functional artist’s instrument. Finally, a USB flash drive puts adds a Subject Matter Expert instructional data PressGhost.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
(ISO Metrics) Length: 457.2 mm; Width: 228.6 mm; Height with wood base: 241.3 mm; Bed length: 444.5 mm; Bed width: 152.4 mm; Bed thickness: 63.5 mm; Roller lengths: 152.4 mm; Rollers diameter: 38.1 mm; Press weight: 6.4 kg; Bed width allows 127 X 304.8 mm printing plate; Top roller raises to 22.25 mm from bed; Sizing Catcher: 139.7 X 406.4 mm; Pusher: 139.7 X 393.7 mm; Allen wrench, 3.175 mm; USB extension cable; PressGhost included.
fine art, printing, etching, printmaking, SME, engraving
Between 1960 and the year 2000, fine art printmaking outgrew human scale. Miniaturization and technology was needed to scale down obstacles to learning and practicing the art and indicated a small press with onboard digital information. Halfwood press tests took eight years and now fit the resources of people making prints worldwide. Digital features are ebooks, videos, Web links, and live interactive tutorials plus serious games for a printmaking teaching method and ongoing design innovations.
The hardest part was achieving a balanced approach to building the presses so they could be owned and used without an exorbitant use of resources. Financial limitations had to be met, plus the usual business factors that one who is an academic and creative artist must learn in the course of developing a new product, testing, marketing and selling the press and supporting instructional materials, help desk and archives.
TEAM MEMBERS (6) :
Thomas Kughler, Margie Kughler, Ron Myhre, Warren Ralls, Bill Ritchie and Lynda Ritchie
Bill Ritchie, 2012.